Named one of twelve women to watch in 2012 by the Daily Muse, Emily is an international leader in the anti-street-harassment movement. In 2005, at the age of 24, she co-founded Hollaback! (iHollaback.org) in New York City, and in 2010 she became the first full-time executive director. Hollaback!’s mission is to give women and LGBTQ folks an empowered response to street harassment, and ultimately, to end it.
Emily brings a fresh perspective to social action in the digital age. She argues that the internet has provided new opportunities to tackle discrimination, by transforming discrimination from a lonely experience into a piece of a larger, public movement. Her project Hollaback! gives women, girls, and LGBTQ individuals an empowered, real-time response to street harassment that will build public awareness on why street harassment matters, and how it hurts. Emily, who hold a Master’s Degree from the London School of Economics in Social Policy, argues that a crowd-sourced movement is the key to changing policy and minds, and ultimately, creating a world where everyone has the right to feel safe and confident.
Prior to running Hollaback!, Emily worked in the anti-poverty world as a case manager, political action coordinator, director of development, and most recently, a one-woman research and development team. She has also worked on four political campaigns.
When feminist icon Gloria Steinem was asked “What women today inspire you and make you feel that the movement continues?” Her response was, “Emily May of Hollaback! who has empowered women in the street, literally.” And when nationally renowned activist and author, Gloria Feldt featured Emily May in her column “She’s Doing It: Emily May of Hollaback!” Feldt says, “I couldn’t be prouder of Emily May, co-founder and Executive Director of Hollaback! as someone who has taken the global problem of street harassment and embraced Power tool #7: Create a movement with both arms and mobile technology!” In 2008, Emily won the Stonewall Women’s Award, in 2010 the Women’s Media Center selected her as one of thirty “Women Making History” along with Rachel Maddow, and in 2011 she was selected as one of “21 leaders for the 21st century” by Women’s E-news, won the “40 under 40″ award from the New Leadership Council, and was named an Ashoka “ChangemakHER,” along with Melinda Gates.